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Kaleido Star (カレイドスター Kareido Sutā?) is an anime series produced by Japanese studio Gonzo Digimation Holding.[1] The series was created by Junichi Sato, who also directed the first season, and written by Reiko Yoshida. Kaleido Star: New Wings was directed by Yoshimasa Hiraike.

Kaleido Star follows Sora Naegino, a Japanese young girl who comes to the United States to fulfill her dream: to perform at the world famous Kaleido Stage.

Three original video animations have been produced, as well as a manga series and a novel.

Plot

First Season

Sora Naegino, a young Japanese girl with a great talent for acrobatics, comes to the United States in hopes of auditioning for the Kaleido Stage, a world famous circus which has mesmerized her since childhood. However, she runs into difficulties as soon as she arrives. She gets lost on her way to the Stage, is leered at by a mysterious stranger, and has her bag stolen by a nimble thief. Employing her acrobatic skills, Sora chases down the criminal.

A kind police officer gives her a ride to Kaleido Stage, but she discovers that she's missed her audition. Her idol, the star performer Layla Hamilton, advises her to return to Japan but a performer's unexpected injury provides Sora with a window of opportunity. She's given the rare chance to perform by the Stage's owner, Kalos (who turns out to be a mysterious man who had eyed her legs earlier). After a faltering effort, Sora is dismissed from Kaleido Stage and prepares to return to Japan, but then Kalos reconsiders, and lets Layla know that someday Sora's performance will be the main draw at the circus.

Sora spends the beginning of the season as an outcast, as the other performers believe that she had relations with the director to gain her position. Layla is particularly cold towards her, and sees her alternately as either an annoyance or a threat. With the help of her friends (stage manager Ken Robbins, the performers Mia Guillem and Anna Heart, and young Marion Begnini) as well as a lot of hard work and determination, Sora begins to earn the respect of those around her. Her incredible personality wins her a variety of friendships (including that of a baby seal!) as well as several increasingly major roles in the productions. Over time, she even manages to form a friendship with Layla.

However, things begin to go astray as Layla's father pressures her to leave and insiders plot to take over and shut down Kaleido Stage. Sora must rely on her winning personality, hard work and close friendships to keep the stage afloat.

New Wings

In the second season Sora returns to the stage after attempting the Legendary Great Maneuver with Layla. This leaves Layla's shoulder injured and unable to perform. The absence of her co-star, having retired to further a career in Broadway productions, prompts a slight decline of the Kaleido Stage. Because of this Kalos brings in a new recruit, Leon Oswald (a lofty trapeze artist). It seems at first that Leon is reminded very much of someone due to Sora's presence, and at times this causes him to either be really rude or really sweet to Sora.

Despite this, however, Leon does not accept Sora as worthy of being on the stage with him. This leads to the most talented of the new Kaleido Stage recruits (the Chinese May Wong, who is also an ex-figure skater) to question and challenge Sora's position as Leon's partner and star of the show.

Sora's first goal in the season is to attend the circus festival in Paris, but the competitors will do anything to attain the title of 'festival winner': betray, deceive, or even attack their opposers. The atmosphere and attitude this creates does not bode kindly to Sora's carefree, optimistic, ultra-idealistic outlook. It in turn causes her to withdraw from the competition in the middle of her act (or the Angel Act) with the redeemed Yuri Killian, leaving friends, family and, worst of all, Layla confused and otherwise disappointed with Sora.

Most of the season concentrates on Sora finding, questioning, and pursuing new dreams. After many trials and rejections, Sora aims to become a "True Kaleido Star" while creating a fun, conflict-free stage, the complete opposite of what she experiences at the festival in Paris.

The Amazing Princess Without a Smile

The first OVA looks at a new production in the works that follows the Kaleido Stage's success with Swan Lake, about a female princess that is unable to smile and a jester of hers that is hoping to bring her smile back. The idea for the production came to Mia from a painting that featured a character that looked very similar to Rosetta and a jester in the background that looked surprisingly like Fool (the stage spirit that can be seen only by very talented students).

Rosetta is assigned the lead role as the princess. Unfortunately, despite the likeliness of her being able to comprehend the role fully as she herself never carried a smile when she first came to Kaleido Stage, she has difficulties acting out the part and leaves the rehearsals mid-way frustrated. Will Rosetta be able to play the role right? What ties does Fool have with the painting of the princess and the jester?

Legend of Phoenix ~Layla Hamilton Monogatari~

Layla and Sora are about to launch different interpretations of the same show "Legend of Phoenix" on opposite coasts. Layla is preparing at the Broadway but is dissatisfied with her performance. She feels that she cannot perform the role properly if she is not truly reborn as a new Layla Hamilton. In a desperate attempt to be reborn, Layla runs off on a solo bicycle trip to upstate New York in hopes of rediscovering herself.

Meanwhile, Sora is also attempting to find her own Phoenix, but when she learns of Layla's disappearance she, Ken and May run off to New York to find the former Kaleido Star who at that instant was on a bike journey with no set destination.

Layla meets various strangers and reminisces memories of her childhood along the way as she thinks of how she can change herself. But while she tries to find a new self, she spends her entire time alone thinking about Sora until she comes to realize just how much Sora has been a muse to her. Once she realizes that, she is reborn. The nature of this revelation, though speculated in different ways by various fans, is up to interpretation. During the end credits, we are shown two different Phoenixes.

Good day yo! Goood!!

Good day yo! Goood!! is a 22 minutes OVA that is rendered by computer graphics. All of the characters are presented super deformed. The OVA is split up into three parts. The first part is a lesson in Chinese cooking presented by May Wong; the dish that is presented is mapo doufu. The second part is a lesson on how to use the diabolo by Rosetta Passel. The final part is a lesson in seal lingo presented by Marion and Jonathan to Sora.

Characters

Media

Episodes

Season 1
# Title Original air date English air date
01 My Amazing Stage Debut!
"Hajimete no! Sugoi! Sutēji" (初めての! すごい! ステージ)
April 3, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
02 My Amazing & Lonely Challenge!
"Kodoku na Sugoi Charenji" (孤独な すごい チャレンジ)
April 17, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
03 The Amazing Distant Stage
"Tōi Sugoi Sutēji" (遠い すごい ステージ)
April 24, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
04 Try Hard & You'll Get an Amazing Chance
"Ganbareba Sugoi Chansu" (がんばれば すごい チャンス)
May 1, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
05 My Amazingly Distant Family
"Itsumo Sugoi Tooi Kazoku" (いつも すごい 遠い家族)
May 5, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
06 The Amazing Seal
"Chiisakute Sugoi Ottosei" (小さくて すごい オットセイ)
May 8, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
07 The Amazing Girl Who Doesn't Smile
"Warawanai Sugoi Shōjo" (笑わない すごい 少女)
May 15, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
08 An Amazing Star Even in Tough Times
"Tsurakutemo Sugoi Sutā" (つらくても すごい スター)
May 22, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
09 My Amazing Challenge for the Lead Role
"Shuyaku e no Sugoi Chōsen" (主役への すごい 挑戦)
May 29, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
10 Facing an Amazing Wall
"Shuyaku e no Sugoi Kabe" (主役への すごい 壁)
June 5, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
11 Anna's Not so Amazing Father
"Anna no Sugokunai Otōsan" (アンナの すごくない お父さん)
June 12, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
12 An Amazingly Hot New Production
"Atsui Sugoi Shinsaku" (熱い すごい 新作)
June 19, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
13 The Amazing Competition Calls Up a Storm
"Arashi o Yobu Sugoi Kyōen" (嵐を呼ぶ すごい 競演)
June 26, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
14 Mysterious Amazing Circus
"Ayashii Sugoi Sākasu" (怪しい すごい サーカス)
July 3, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
15 The Diva's Amazing Love
"Utahime no Sugoi Ai" (歌姫の すごい 愛)
July 10, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
16 An Amazing Sinister Rumor
"Kuroi Sugoi Uwasa" (黒い すごい 噂)
July 17, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
17 Fire It Up! Amazing Mia
"Moero! Sugoi Mia" (燃えろ! すごい ミア)
July 24, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
18 Yuri's Amazing Trap
"Yūri no Sugoi Wana" (ユーリの すごい 罠)
July 31 , 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
19 Amazing Family Ties
"Kazoku no Sugoi Kizuna" (家族の すごい 絆)
August 7, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
20 An Amazing Change From Zero To Hero
"Zero kara no Sugoi Sutāto" (ゼロからの すごい スタート)
August 14, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
21 The Amazing Mystery Star
"Nazo no Sugoi Kamen Sutā" (謎の すごい 仮面スター)
August 21, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
22 The Amazing Resolve Beneath The Mask
"Kamen no Shita no Sugoi Kakugo" (仮面の下の すごい 覚悟)
August 28, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
23 The Legendary Amazing Maneuver
"Maboroshi no Sugoi Oowaza" (幻の すごい 大技)
September 4, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
24 The Amazing Intensive Training Continues
"Mada Tsuzuku Sugoi Tokkun" (まだ続く すごい 特訓)
September 11, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
25 An Amazing Bond
"Futari no Sugoi Kizuna" (ふたりの すごい 絆)
September 18, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
26 An Amazing Comeback
"Kizudarake no Sugoi Fukkatsu" (傷だらけの すごい 復活)
September 25 , 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
Season 2
# Title Original air date English air date
27 Amazing Prologue to Stardom (Part 1)
"Sutā e no Sugoi Purorōgu (Zenpen)" (スターへの すごい プロローグ(前編))
October 4, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
28 Amazing Prologue to Stardom (Part 2)
"Sutā e no Sugoi Purorōgu (Kōhen)" (スターへの すごい プロローグ(後編))
October 11, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
29 An Amazing New Rival
"Atarashii Sugoi Raibaru" (新しい すごい ライバル)
October 18, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
30 The Amazing Newcomer
"Mou Hitori no Sugoi Shinjin" (もう一人の すごい 新人)
October 25, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
31 The Amazing Passionate Rival
"Jōnetsu no Sugoi Raibaru" (情熱の すごい ライバル)
November 1, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
32 Amazing Match On Ice
"Kōri no Ue no Sugoi Taiketsu" (氷の上の すごい 対決)
November 8, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
33 Amazing Rosetta of Sweat and Tears
"Ase to Namida no Sugoi Rozetta" (汗と涙の すごい ロゼッタ)
November 15, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
34 The Ever Amazing Miss Layla
"Yappari Sugoi Reira san" (やっぱり すごい レイラさん)
November 22, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
35 Marion's Amazing Debut
"Marion no Sugoi Debyū" (マリオンの すごい デビュー)
November 29, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
36 Amazing Training With Leon
"Reon to no Sugoi Tokkun" (レオンとの すごい 特訓)
December 6, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
37 The Two Amazing Demons
"Futari no Sugoi Akuma" (二人の すごい 悪魔)
December 13, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
38 Amazing Angelic Counterattack
"Tenshi no Sugoi Hangeki" (天使の すごい 反撃)
December 20, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
39 Cruel Amazing Festival
"Zankoku na Sugoi Saiten" (惨酷な すごい 祭典)
December 27, 2003
{{{ShortSummary}}}
40 Amazing and Sad Homecoming
"Zetsubō no Sugoi Kikoku" (絶望の すごい 帰国)
January 10, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
41 My Amazing Fresh Start
"Saishuppatsu no Sugoi Ketsui" (再出発の すごい 決意)
January 17, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
42 An Amazingly Humiliating Performance
"Kutsujoku no Sugoi Kyōen" (屈辱の すごい 共演)
January 24, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
43 Mr. Policeman's Amazing Proposal
"Porisu no Sugoi Puropōzu" (ポリスの すごい プロポーズ)
January 31, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
44 Launching An Amazing Smile!
"Egao no Sugoi Hasshin!" (笑顔の すごい 発進!)
February 7, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
45 Leon's Amazing Past
"Reon no Sugoi Kako" (レオンの すごい 過去)
February 14, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
46 The Amazing Fated Duel
"Shukumei no Sugoi Kettō" (宿命の すごい 決斗)
February 21, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
47 Flight of the Amazing Angel
"Maiorita Sugoi Tenshi" (舞い降りた すごい 天使)
February 28, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
48 The Amazing Injured Swan
"Kizutsuita Sugoi Hakuchou" (傷ついた すごい 白鳥)
March 6, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
49 Our Amazing Futures
"Hitorihitori no Sugoi Ashita" ({{{KanjiTitle}}})
March 13, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
50 A Most Amazing and Inescapable Showdown
"Sakerarenai Monosugoi Ikkiuchi" (避けられない ものすごい 一騎討ち)
March 20, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}
51 To the Amazing Promised Place
"Yakusoku no Sugoi Basho e" (約束の すごい 場所へ)
March 27, 2004
{{{ShortSummary}}}

Music

Opening
  1. "Take it Shake It" by Sugar (eps 1–13)
  2. "Yakusoku no basho e" (約束の場所へ?) by Chihiro Yonekura (eps 14–26)
  3. "Tattoo Kiss" by r.o.r/s (eps 27–51)
  4. "Blanc et Noir" by Ryō Hirohashi and Kaori Mizuhashi (The Amazing Princess Without a Smile OVA)
  5. "Ray of Light" by Sayaka Ōhara (Legend of Phoenix ~Layla Hamilton Monogatari~ OVA)
Ending
  1. "real Identity" by Sugar (eps 1–13)
  2. "Boku wa kokoni iru" (僕はここにいる?) by Sophia (eps 14–26)
  3. "Escape" by r.o.r/s (eps 27–50)
  4. "Yakusoku no basho e" (約束の場所へ?) by Chihiro Yonekura with Kaleido Stars (ep 51)
  5. "Tattoo Kiss" by r.o.r/s (The Amazing Princess Without a Smile OVA)
  6. "Golden Phoenix ~Nando demo~" (Golden Phoenix ~何度でも~?) by Sayaka Ōhara (Legend of Phoenix ~Layla Hamilton Monogatari~ OVA)
Insert
  1. "Ray of Light" by Layla Hamilton (Sayaka Ōhara) (ep 50)

Manga

A manga entitled Kaleido Star ~Wings of the Future~[2] began serialization in Shōnen Fang's April issue and was released on February 19, 2007.[3] The story takes place fifteen years after the events of the anime series and it revolves around Sora's younger sister, Yume. Because Sora has not visited her family in years for reasons unknown, Yume joins Kaleido Stage in hopes to meet her.

Various new characters have been introduced, old ones have also come back including Yuri Killian, May Wong, Marion Benigni,[4] Mia Guillem,[5] and Rosetta Passell.[6]

Serialization in Shōnen Fang magazine ended in September 2007 when the magazine went defunct.[7]

Novel

A novel named Mr. Policeman's Amazing Wedding (ポリスの すごい 結婚式 Porisu no Sugoi Kekkonshiki?) was released on February 10, 2006.[8]

Reception

Kaleido Star was generally well received by critics, with the majority of acclaim paid to the first season.

Season 1

In a review of the first Volume, Anime News Network called the series "heartwarming fluff without too many sugar calories" and praised the Japanese voice cast for stellar performances, with particular emphasis on Ryo Hirohashi and Takehito Koyasu.[9] Anime On DVD also noted Koyasu's performance, the quality of the animation in the performance scenes, and the fulfilling climax of the final episode.[10][11] Underland Online noted Kaleido Star as being "...an extraordinary series is in a class all its own."[12]

Season 2

Despite being put off by the recap episodes, Anime New Network positively reviewed the first Volume of Kaleido Star: New Wings. While critiquing the story as "straight from the shōjo drama playbook," the review held praise for the visuals, stating that "the best thing about Kaleido Star is, far and away, the amazing animation and production values. The circus scenes are wildly original and sometimes breathtaking; the animation quality hasn't dipped at all in the second season." Cynthia Martinez also won notice for developing her performance as Sora.[13] Anime Advanced also looked at the first volume and praised it highly, noting that "Kaleido Star gets my highest possible recommendation. This is a show that dreams are made of."[14]

Summing up the series, Chris Beveridge of Anime On DVD said that "Kaleido Star has been a great series overall with a somewhat weak second season that really took its time to find its own voice," but that "it's still a series that's very easy to recommend on a whole and one that is very much worth showing to a younger audience."[15] ActiveAnime's Holly Ellingwood commented that "The finale is climatic and fulfilling." and summarized the series as being "An anime that is a pure joy to watch. Exhilarating, Kaleido Star is a stirring series that is both inspirational and remarkable."[16]

Extra Stage

Anime On DVD proclaimed the OVA to be "a beautiful piece of work and the best way to close out things for a while as it is much more oriented on the comedy and the lighter side of the characters... It's a great little self contained story that plays strong in a similar fashion to the last episode of the series but without quite so much angst and hardship associated with it. It leaves you laughing and really smiling at the end of the disc."[15]

Trivia

  • The first episode of the English adaptation appeared on the January 2004 edition of Newtype magazine.[17]
  • Luci Christian voices both Sarah and Kate in the English speaking version. She stated in an interview that when this occurs that "voice patterns can really set your voices apart".[18]
  • Japanese circus performer Dio Kobayashi is credited as special adviser.

References

  1. "Funimation Adds Chrono Crusade, Gantz, Kaleido Star, Peacemaker". Anime News Network. 2010-06-25. 
  2. Script error
  3. Script error
  4. Script error
  5. Script error
  6. Script error
  7. "Comic Press". Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  8. Script error[dead link]
  9. Leslie Mitsuko Tokiwa (September 3, 2004). "Reviews: Kaleido Star Volume 1". AnimeNewsNetwork.com. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  10. Chris Beveridge (May 8, 2004). "Disc Reviews: Kaleido Star Volume 1". AnimeOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  11. Chris Beveridge (December 10, 2004). "Disc Reviews: Kaleido Star Volume 6". AnimeOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  12. Mike Lewis. "Kaleido Star Amazing Collection". Underland Online. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  13. Zac Bertschy (January 19, 2006). "Reviews: Kaleido Star New Wings Volume 1". AnimeNewsNetwork.com. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  14. Vincent Del Vecchio (January 19, 2006). "Kaleido Star: New Wings Volume 1". Anime Advanced. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Chris Beveridge (October 18, 2006). "Disc Reviews: Kaleido Star: New Wings Volume 6". AnimeOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  16. Holly Ellingwood (November 5, 2006). "Kaleido Star New Wings: A Kaleido Star is Born (Vol. 6) [Advance Review]". Active Anime. Retrieved 2007-02-26. [dead link]
  17. "Bound by Blood". Newtype Magazine USA. Retrieved 2006-07-07. 
  18. "Voice actors in bed". DVD Vision Japan. Retrieved 2006-07-07. 

External links

Official sites

Japan
North America
Korea

Unofficial sites

id:Kaleido Star it:Kaleido Star hu:Kaleido Starro:Kaleido Star sv:Kaleido Star tl:Kaleido Star zh:百变之星

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